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The Near Myths: Press

Barton's Jim Clark and Fellow Band Members of The Near Myths Produce New CD ". . . and into the flow."

Andy's final song

 Joe Scott

Special to Go Triad, Published May 15, 2008 2:36 pm

MULTIMEDIA Watch the music video for "(Take Me Back to) Dillard Street" created by Joe Scott. The video is based on pictures taken by friends and family. It's a visual exploration of the life of the late Greensboro songwriter Andy Oglesby.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwKyRi1CJMM

"Wild tales of a long, strange trip come true."

In June 2006, Greensboro singer-songwriter Andy Oglesby took a break from his hard-fought battle against lung cancer to record his final song.

His once-smooth voice cracked as he sang, and he barely had the energy to play his guitar, but he pushed himself to finish.

Three weeks later, at age 51, he passed away.

"The song was literally his last breaths," says Katy Adams, Oglesby's friend and bandmate.

What Oglesby left behind from that recording session was his masterpiece, "(Take Me Back to) Dillard Street," an eight-minute epic any folk singer would be proud to have written. Every line represents a compressed nugget from Oglesby's personal history.

During the song, he reminisces about local hangouts such as Beef Burger and playing music all night with his friends. Part musical autobiography, part ode to the friends and places in Greensboro that he loved so well, "Dillard Street" appears on "Words to Burn," the newest album by the Near Myths, one of the bands Oglesby created with five friends. The CD was independently released early this year.

Oglesby was never a full-time musician. His early years in the Greensboro music scene didn't lead to a recording contract or lots of fans. But music was always important to him, and at the dusk of his life, he put everything he had into the creation of a touching musical farewell.

"Pocket full of nothing but guitar picks."

For the members of Oglesby's family, his career as a musician began with an act of rebellion.

A self-taught guitar player and pianist, Oglesby was a broke history major at UNCG. In 1976, he moved into a low-rent apartment at Dillard and Lee streets, grew his hair long and soon dropped out of college so he could continue playing music with his friends at night.

"Mom and Dad wouldn't tolerate that kind of stuff and pretty much said, 'Straighten up, or we don't want to see you,'" says Leslie Pipan, Oglesby's sister. "And there was a good number of years where he wasn't in our life as a family."

The only member of Oglesby's family who would associate with him during his bohemian heyday was Spotter, a small black and white dog that Oglesby took everywhere, including the shows he performed with local musician Bruce Piephoff.

"I remember one time when Spotter went and took a leak on stage," Piephoff says. "He (Spotter) would always upstage us because he would sit there and do whatever he wanted to do."

Oglesby would frequently host get-togethers for his tight circle of friends at his apartment on Dillard Street. Several people from the group formed his first band, Rough Mix, which included Adams, as well as fellow guitar player and poet Jim Clark.

"I did well in graduate school, made good grades, but I didn't let that stop me from having a blast," Clark says. "There was great music everywhere on Tate Street and any number of great fun things to do."

"No hard feelings, just say, 'Thanks.'"

Rough Mix would not last forever. Most of its members, including Clark, graduated and moved to different cities.

 Maybe it was because he realized that he was getting older, but Oglesby moved on, too. He traded the guitar-slinging days of his youth for a full-time job selling pipes for WaterPro.

"Andy always loved music, but I don't think he had any intention of doing it full time," Piephoff says.

Having decided finally to "straighten up" his life, Oglesby also repaired the rift between himself and his family.

 "Everybody was thrilled when he came back. We were just thrilled," Pipan says. "It was almost like the prodigal son."

Oglesby married his wife, Julie, whom he had met while attending Grimsley High School, and helped raise her two sons from a previous marriage. He also got a mortgage and became involved in his stepson's Boy Scout troop.

 "He pretty much transitioned out of that bohemian lifestyle to a more suburban kind of life," Piephoff says. "For about 20 years, he wasn't really playing."

"New Myths revealed."

Oglesby stayed in contact with the former members of Rough Mix. When his stepsons were old enough to move out of the house, he helped his band reunite with several of Clark's friends under the name the Near Myths.

The reunion would not be conventional.

For starters, some of its members didn't live in the same state or country, let alone the same city. Besides Oglesby, Adams was the only other original member who lived in Greensboro. Clark, an English professor at Barton College, now lives in Wilson, Terry "Teep" Phillips lives in Knoxville, Tenn., and Ben and Bernadette Greene live in Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

"We had to take days off from work and drive for hours just to play for 40 minutes," Adams says.

Despite the distance between their homes, they seemed more ambitious this go-around. Together, they released "Wilson," a loose collection of songs they recorded in the studio at Barton College.

"Left behind some words to burn."

When Oglesby complained of a sore throat in the spring of 2005, the people who knew him thought he merely suffered from a virus that was going around at the time. Oglesby knew it was something different.

"It was first diagnosed as throat cancer, but very quickly, they found spots on his lungs, so it was really lung cancer," Clark says.

The diagnosis was painfully ironic because Oglesby had stopped smoking long ago.

"He thought he had caught it early," Adams says. "He kept after it and kept after it because he thought there was always an amount of hope that it was not going to be fatal until the last five or six weeks."

During his year-long fight with cancer, Oglesby also dove into his music. He pushed his band to buy a P.A. system so they could go on tour and began working on a new song titled "(Take Me Back to) Dillard Street."

At first, Oglesby's bandmates were slightly bewildered by the song's eight-minute running length.

"I guess one of the things that really hit us the first time was, 'Wow, this is a long song, this is a really, really long song,' " Clark says. "But there's precedent for that, and even Neil Young had an autobiographical song on his 'On the Beach' album called 'Ambulance Blues' that's like about nine minutes long."

With "Dillard Street," Oglesby accomplished more than just a musical autobiography. He also captured the spirit of Greensboro. As with most college towns, Greensboro is like a revolving door. People and local businesses come and go.

The theme of impermanence especially rings true now that Oglesby, one of the few members from his circle of friends who stayed in Greensboro, ultimately had to leave it, too.

"He included all of us and all our times together that we shared, so really we thought the song was us." Adams says. "I was just amazed that he could put that together. It seemed very simple, but the more I listened to it, the more complex I realized the song was."

The week before Oglesby would record "(Take Me Back to) Dillard Street," he played his final live show outside of the former Coffee and Cream House on Alamance Church Road in Greensboro.

He had bought himself a new guitar, a real pretty Martin acoustic guitar, and he was so glad to be able to play that," Clark says. "We had to shorten the first set by several songs, and we obviously couldn't do a second set."

 In a way, the show brought the members of Oglesby's family, as well the many friends he had made while living on Dillard Street, together for the first time.

For Oglesby's sister, the concert was a revelation.

"The event was so powerful to begin with,because it made us realize that Andy had a really good life and an exciting life," Pipan says. "It was a good life for him that we didn't know a lot about, but he had so many friends that loved him for a long time, and that was good to know."

"Take these things away ..."

Multiple chemotherapy and radiation treatments left Oglesby gaunt and unable to walk without a cane. But he joined his band in Wilson to record the vocal and guitar parts for "(Take Me Back to) Dillard Street."

"It was kind of a long, hard recording session," Clark says. "Not awful, but he had to stop and start over a lot and just had trouble keeping everything going on a song that long."

Oglesby would never live to hear the completed version of his song.

The Near Myths had to finish recording and mixing it without him.

"When we got to the studio three weeks later and played the tape of Andy and his guitar, it was really kind of hard to deal with," Clark says. "But we knew that up until the very end, that until he couldn't concentrate on anything else, he was looking forward to having the song finished, and we knew that that's what he would want."

 "I became fond of the expression, 'What would Andy think?'" Adams says. "This was his song, so we tried hard to think about how he would want it to sound."

And in the end, the collaboration of the Near Myths and Oglesby's spirit paid off. "(Take Me Back to) Dillard Street" is the most polished song on the album "Words to Burn."

"It's a great song," Clark says, "and Andy just put in everything he had left."

"It's just such a great song," Pipan says. "I think it's so poignant when you hear it, whether you know him or not."

Joe Scott - GoTriad (Greensboro News & Record) (May 15, 2008)
Review in MazzMusikaS Free-zine 97

The Near Myths / Words To Burn / Eternal Delight Productions
Dit is het vervolg op Wilson, de debuut-cd van dit Amerikaans gezelschap (eveneens ooit besproken in deze rubriek). Ondertussen is Nicholas Anderson Oglesby, een van de oprichters, overleden. Voor drie nieuwe tracks had hij evenwel reeds alles ingezongen en tevens de gitaarpartijen gespeeld. Deze nummers zijn op deze cd terug te vinden. Words To Burn is dan ook aan hem opgedragen. Muzikaal ligt alles in het verlengde van wat we reeds hoorden op Wilson. Dit is Southern country met heel veel aandacht voor de zangharmonieën. Gezien het spectrum wel breed opengetrokken wordt, is dit evenzeer voor fans van Al Stewart, Buffalo Springfield, The Band en vooral Elliott Murphy. Verrassend zijn het sterk psychedelische getinte Need You Gone (met parallellen aan Jethro Tulls Aqualung!) en Laughing By Now waarin we de complexloze pop van The Searchers terugvinden. Allemaal heel catchy met aangepaste levenswijsheden als ‘just watch out for the cheap vodkas on your way to bed’ en ‘a man could go thirsty from dry conversation’ (Salmon). (GTB)

Here is our attempt at a translation, with special thanks to Bernadette and her mom.

The Near Myths / Words to Burn / Eternal Delight Productions
This CD follows Wilson, the debut CD (also talked about in this column) from the American group. In the meantime, Nicholas Anderson Oglesby, one of the founders, passed away. He had already recorded the vocals and guitar parts on three new tracks. These numbers can be found on this CD. Words to Burn is dedicated to him. Musically, it continues in the same vein as what we heard before on Wilson. This is Southern country with much attention given to harmony vocals. Because of the broad spectrum, this would also be of interest to fans of Al Stewart, Buffalo Springfield, the Band and Elliott Murphy. ‘Need You Gone,’ with its strong psychedelic flavor reminiscent of Jethro Tull’s ‘Aqualung,’ is surprising when compared to ‘Laughing by Now,’ which is more like the uncomplicated pop of The Searchers. All very catchy, with fitting life wisdoms like "just watch out for cheap vodkas on your way to bed" and "a man could go thirsty from dry conversation" ('Salmon'). (GTB)
GTB - MazzMusikaS Free-zine 97, Deurne, Belgium (May 15, 2008)
Review in MazzMusikaS Free-zine 22

The Near Myths / Wilson / Eternal Delight (www.thenearmyths.com)
Het verhaal van jaren samen aan de toog hangen en plannen smeden om eens een cd uit te brengen zal bij velen vertrouwd in de oren klinken. Deze zes hakten uiteindelijk de knoop door met Wilson als resultaat (een verwijzing naar het plaatsje in NC, USA waar ze vandaan komen). Hun platencollectie bevat duidelijk heel wat countryrock en singer-songwriterwerk met aanverwante stijlen als folk en blues. Zelf klinken ze als een interessante kruising tussen The Byrds en Steve Forbert met als extra meerwaarde de melodieuze samenzang waarbij de referenties naar het flower power tijdperk net subtiel genoeg zijn om niet gratuit te klinken. Aangezien er vier songwriters in de groep zitten en ze allen verschillende instrumenten bespelen, is er genoeg potentieel aanwezig voor een opvolger van dit sympathieke debuut. (GTB)

Here is our attempt at a translation from the Dutch (Special thanks to Near Myth Bernadette and her mom!)

The story of musicians spending many years together, hanging out and dreaming of recording a CD one day, will sound very familiar to many ears. These six band members in the end made it a reality, and Wilson (a reference to a little town in North Carolina, USA, where they come from) is the result. This collection of songs is a natural blend of country-rock and singer-songwriter styles with some related influences such as folk and blues. They sound like an interesting cross between the Byrds and Steve Forbert, with an extra helping of melodious harmony singing which evokes references to the flower power era just subtly enough to not sound gratuitous. With four songwriters in the group and all members playing different instruments, there’s enough potential for a follow-up to this likable debut.
GTB - MazzMusikaS Free-zine 22, Antwerp, Belgium (Jan 13, 2006)
Mastering the Myths

By Phil Valera

In July of 2004, a crew of six singer/songwriter poets

came together in Wilson to fulfill a dream to create a

permanent record of their friendship and the musical

experiences that they have shared over the years. I

sponsored this weeklong summer fantasy camp for

aging hippies in the recording studio of Barton

College with the hope of adding to the exposure and

promotion that was garnered for Barton and our

studio from Jim Clark’s first CD, Buried Land. This disc

received excellent reviews in newspapers, magazines

and on the internet. Selections were played several

times on WUNC’s Back Porch Music and Barton College

was given credit by the announcer with each airplay of

these old tunes. I will never forget the thrill I felt when

I turned on WUNC one Sunday night and heard Jim

Clark’s baritone booming back at me. I yelled, “That’s

my record” to no one in particular. I was ready for

more. Earlier in the spring of 2004, fresh from the

heady experience of our first collaboration, I asked Jim

if he had a sequel in him. Jim said that he had thought

of doing something with some of his old friends. I

began contemplating a simple folk music session like

something from the ‘50’s with The Weavers, or the

early 60’s with Peter, Paul and Mary.

My first experience with the group was from a crude

cassette recording of Jim’s Canadian friend’s selfrecorded

songs. When I popped Ben Greene’s tape into

my car player, lyrics began firing at me like bullets

from an automatic weapon:

Well the renegades are serenading all my volunteers

[Oops] I'm in hot soup up to my one good ear

When I try to turn my back on my woes

I realize I'm surrounded.

When you say I've lost my way

Well, I think I never found it

[ There ain’t no way around it]

You gotta do what you gotta do

Do what you gotta do

Do what you gotta do

Dig in and dig yourself out

Do what you gotta do

This is when I began to wonder if we might be doing

something a little less sedate than Blowin’ in the Wind.

The lyrics were quirky, clever and funny but delivered

in a traditional rock & roll rant. I had to wonder at the

next song. Was it a parody of a love song or is it really

a 60’s era San Francisco Flower Power song?

I've not been bit by bowsers aroused by rabies

Said to docs, Is it hopeless?

And heard their maybe’s

Been phoned by strange women expecting babies

Then the pregnant pause

No single puff leading to heroin addiction

No Taliban dungeon on a blasphemy conviction

No film of my life with its scathing depiction

Of my untragic flaws

The Myths are first and foremost, songwriters. Their

lyrics are dense, multilevel creations that need

many hearings to absorb. The solid songwriting in

this project is what brought me through the entire

year that it took for me to mix this CD. I thought

that the week we had set aside to accomplish the

tracking of the music would be sufficient to archive

a modest production of a dozen or so simple little

songs. The Near Myths’ vision was a complex,

multilayered recording with overdubbed voices,

dueling electric guitars and exotic instruments

(hairy drum?). We managed nine songs working

down to the wire on Friday but we still needed a

couple of additional overdub sessions in the fall

and later in January to tidy up all the loose ends.

Producing an album by committee is fraught with

peril as you can imagine. The Wilson CD had one

more complication in its production. The band

members are scattered around the country. Two of

the band members live in another country. (Does

this qualify me as part of Barton’s global focus?) We

began our mixing odyssey by e-mail. Hundreds of

e-mails. Hundreds of verbose e-mails. I was stuck in

the middle of a writer’s literary criticism

listserv/blog. I would create a mix of a song, convert

it to an MP3 file, and e-mail it off to the band

members. In a few hours, a flurry of panicked (and

verbose) e-mails would start flowing in, each with

contradictory comments. Once, early on in the

process, I sent a file that only had one element that

I had mixed which I sent to test an idea. Again, wide

spread panic, inbox clogged. I learned my lesson; I

would no longer send partly mixed songs. Jim soon

took charge of the e-mail system and became the

ombudsman for the production comments which

really helped speed up the process. (If a year’s

worth of mixing could be called speed.)

As soon as I had heard the finished mastered

version of the CD, there were details that kept

jumping out at me that I wished I had handled

differently. Now that some time has elapsed since

the completion of the Wilson CD, I can listen to it

and hear it as the creative whole that it is. The

performances are exciting, the arrangements are

clever and compelling, the packaging is splendid,

and the mastering was perfect. I am proud of the

work, and I certainly am grateful that I was able to

make music with this great group of musicians.
Phil Valera - Barton College Faculty COMMUNIQUE (Dec 6, 2005)
The Near Myths
“Wilson”

In an age where albums are full of one filler after another, The Near Myths debut album, “Wilson”, is a breath of fresh air.

This album embodies the perfect marriage of pop, rock, blues and country.

From Ben Greene’s Bob Dylan –like vocals on the Celtic-inspired song “Rapunzel” to the sultry blues guitar riffs of “Involuntary Shuffle”, the Near Myths combine the perfect mixture of old and new.

The group combines many different styles of music to create a unique sound all their own. With a hint of 1960’s nostalgia mixed into the mostly contemporary material, this album is enjoyable for both the younger and older crowd.

Their lush harmonies on songs such as “Rapunzel” and “Old Mill Road” are reminiscent of such groups as The Mamas and the Papas.

The group shows his bluegrass roots on tracks such as “(Turn This) Water into Wine” and “Westward Quest”.

For those who lean more towards rock and blues, tracks such as “Do What You Gotta Do” and “Involuntary Shuffle” are solid songs with good, old-fashioned classic guitar riffs.

If you are looking for an album that can be enjoyed from beginning to end, “Wilson” is not to be missed.
Sallie Neblett - The Barton College COLLEGIATE, November 17, 2005 (Dec 14, 2005)
Dr. James A. Clark, Barton’s professor of English and Modern Languages, has released a music CD, titled, “Wilson”, recorded by his band, “The Near Myths”.

“We recorded it in July of 2004,” said Clark. “We were here for about five days. It actually started with conversations between me and one of my friends in the group, Ben Greene.”

Greene was Clark’s roommate at the University of North Carolina, which Clark attended in the 1970’s. “He’s always coming up with big ideas,” said Clark. “Usually he’s not serious about them; it’s just something to talk about. He said his family was coming down to visit his parents and they could come by and visit me. My first CD had come out not long before that. He was happy about that and enjoyed it. He said ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could go into the studio there at Barton and record some of our original songs?’ We used to write songs together back in college and play just for fun. I didn’t think much about it; I thought it was another one of his big ideas. But we kept e-mailing about it. We have another friend in Knoxville, Terry Phillips, an old friend from long ago. Ben said we could get Terry to come. Terry is a professional musician. He’s a tremendous musician, plays drums, bass, all that kind of thing. Everybody ended up saying ‘well if you’re really going to do it, I’ll take a week off from work and be there’.”

In addition to Phillips, Clark, and Greene, the band consists of Bernadette Greene (Ben Greene’s wife), Andy Oglesby, and Katy Adams. Both Adams and Oglesby are from Greensboro.

“Everybody managed to show up that week of July,” said Clark. “All we hoped to do was to get down maybe two or three songs in a demo kind of form. It turned out when we got there, everything went like clockwork. A lot of that has to do with Phil Valera.”

Phil Valera is the assistant professor of the Department of Communications at Barton. “He was very good at facilitating what we needed to get done,” said Clark. “We ended up recording nine songs that were pretty complex arrangements. Terry was able to provide bass and drums. Most of the rest of us just played guitar and other things. That really made it a real band, with the base and drums. Phil and I worked on it, mixing and I would add a harmonica part or a little part of some kind. Andy and Katy from Greensboro came back over a couple of times to add a few more things.

“We continued to work on it for a good many months after recording. Phil continued mixing and everything. It was done about July of this year. Phil said ‘I think we’re about done with the audio part of it’. At that point I started talking with Keith Tew, in the Publications department about cover designs. Once Keith was finished with his work, all we had to do was send everything up to the Oasis C. D. manufacturing facility in Virginia; they are the people who produced the C. D. for us.”

Valera, according to Clark, was a vital contributor during the recording process.

“We couldn’t possibly have done it without Phil,” said Clark. The band has dubbed Valera “The 7th Myth”.

While all the songs are compiled on one album, there isn’t a shared theme for them, according to Clark.

“It’s not like a concept album,” said Clark. “There are three or four love songs. There’s one song I wrote that was inspired by Vollis Simpson’s windmills. He’s a folk artist and a welder. He constructs these huge ‘whirligigs’, as he calls them, because they’re just for decoration.” The overall album has a kind of a personality to it. When you listen to the album, you do come away with kind of a feeling about it.”

When asked what genre the Near Myths are in, Clark said, “We are essentially a folk rock band with little bits of country, blues, and pop.”

“We didn't target any type of audience in particular,” said Greene. “I assume it would appeal to people like us, and might do a little better with the Baby Boomer demographic than with the really young and the fairly elderly. On the other hand, I think that a broad range of listeners would find at least something they'd like.”

“Wilson” is 36 minutes long and made up of original songs. They are performed by “The Near Myths” on a variety of instruments. Clark plays acoustic guitar, banjo, harmonica, and penny whistle. Ben Greene plays six and twelve string acoustic guitar and harmonica. Bernadette Greene plays the keyboard. Oglesby plays the electric and acoustic guitar. Adams plays a twelve stringed rhythm guitar. Phillips playing six and twelve string acoustic guitars, electric guitar, slide guitar, bass, and drums. All the band members contribute vocals.

So how did they come up with the name “The Near Myths”?

“When I first proposed that we consider making a recording,” said Ben Greene, “I half-jokingly mentioned in an e-mail to Jim (Dr. Clark) that we should put together a band called ‘The Suburban Myths’ and make an album called ‘Call Before Digging’. Sometimes my creative impulses come in terms of titles. The name ‘Suburban Myths’ came to me as a humorous variation on ‘urban myth.’ Later, when Jim wrote back that Phil Valera had mentioned he'd be interested in working on another recording, and we started to get serious about it, we started thinking of who might join in. Jim said that musical friends not in the band could make a contribution as ‘Near Myths.’ Later still, we decided that this was a better name, both serious and funny.”

A reception was held for Clark on Oct. 25 to celebrate the release of “Wilson”. Finger sandwiches, fruit platters, punch, and desert squares were served to the 16 guests who attended, including Clark. Copies of “Wilson” were for sale, as well as copies of Clark’s first CD, “Buried Land”. Handout sheets with information about “The Near Myths” were also provided. Music from “Wilson” was played during the reception.

Clark spoke at the reception about how he and his friends collaborated to create “Wilson”. He said that it had been named “Wilson” because of how much the band enjoyed Wilson while they were recording their CD. Clark also read a thanks to Valera from the cover of the CD, informing the crowd that in addition to helping with the mixing and recording, Valera also played the cowbell and the vibroslap, an instrument descended from “the jawbone of an ass”, according to Clark.

Although only recently released, the Near Myths CD has begun to get attention from media sources.

“I can't yet speak to the popularity of the CD,” said Ben Greene, “as it's only been out a very short while. However, even before its release, the CD was getting positive attention, with some fairly regular Internet radio play of one or two of the tracks. Furthermore, I understand that one song was on the air on the radio in Atlanta. Of course, those were mp3 versions; the CD itself now has been mastered and sounds quite a bit better.”

Clark feels that what makes “The Near Myths” different from other bands is the way in which they came together to make their CD.

“For so many people,” said Clark, “of our generation, coming of age in the 60’s and 70’s, it was expensive to record an album. Very few people without the backing of a record company could have put out one. We dreamed of putting out a record, but we could never afford it. But now the technology is such that with a good computer, some microphones and things, anyone can put out an album. The fact that all these 50-some musicians got together despite obligations and kept their dream alive is what’s special about us.”

So will there be another album in the works for “The Near Myths”?

“We hope so,” said Clark. “We’ve all got more songs, and now that we’ve done it once, it should be easier.”
Mike Shutak - The Barton College COLLEGIATE, November 17, 2005 (Dec 14, 2005)

Wilson, NC wilsondaily.com

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Friends Get Together to Record Folk-Rock CD

By Jeff Kennedy, Daily Times Staff Writer

There's nothing like the chemistry of friends. The feelings rekindled and tales retold when old friends get together can't be reproduced. But when Barton College professor Jim Clark and his old friends came together in Wilson in the summer of 2004, they found a way to bottle a little bit of that chemistry.

Their result is "Wilson," a folk rock CD by Clark's band, The Near Myths, released this month. Featured in Near Myths are Clark and his friends, Ben and Bernadette Greene of Vancouver, British Columbia; Katy Adams and Andy Oglesby of Greensboro; and Terry "Teep" Phillips of Knoxville, Tenn. The CD was recorded in one week in July 2004 at the Sara Lynn Riley Kennedy Recording Studio at Barton and was produced by Clark's friend and fellow Barton professor, Phil Valera.

"Most of the people in the band have known each other for 25 to 30 years," said Clark, professor of English at Barton.

The band's origins date back to the late 1970s when Clark and Ben Greene were enrolled in the master of fine arts writing program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. There they met Adams, Phillips and Oglesby. All were interested in music.

Clark, Adams and Oglesby formed a band called Rough Mix, sometimes doing songs written by Greene. The group of friends went their separate ways in the 1980s. Clark went to Denver for an English doctorate program. Greene settled in Vancouver where he met his wife, Bernadette.

Though geography kept everyone from playing together often, the group would get together in different combinations to play. In 2004, Clark and Greene got the idea to bring everybody back together for a reunion and to record a few original songs for posterity.

Clark had been through the process before - when he collaborated with Valera to produce "Buried Land," a CD of poetry and music centered around Clark's poetry and the folk music of the mountains of Tennessee.

"The more we talked about it, the more it seemed like it could be a possibility," Clark said. Their aim was to record three or four songs of their own for themselves, Clark said.

They hadn't thought about producing an entire album, let alone producing an album for distribution.

"We all came together not really knowing what to expect because we hadn't played in forever," Clark said. "... But everything kind of clicked together, and we ended up with nine songs.

" Clark said they did the math - nine songs, 36 minutes - and, recalling the length of albums of their youth, they realized they had enough for a CD.

"Lo and behold, we just kind of ended up with an album's worth of material," Clark said. "We decided to put it out as a CD."

Their name harks back to the individual dreams they had in the 1970s of being rock 'n' roll legends of mythic proportions.

"It was a lot harder to do that kind of thing back then," Clark said. "The technology just allowed us to realize our dream. ... We didn't become mythic, but we are The Near Myths."

They settled on Wilson as the title for their CD because it was where they had all gotten back together. Everyone had good associations with Wilson and "nobody objected to that," Clark said.

When not in the studio, Clark showed them around Wilson. "They ended up having a great time," Clark said. "It was really just a pleasant week."

Clark also took them out to the whirligig farm of his friend folk artist Vollis Simpson.

"I took them out there at night, which is always a pretty good thing," Clark said. They also took some daytime photos there that Barton's Keith Tew worked into the graphic art for the design of the six-panel CD cover.

Simpson's art is a fitting complement to the CD, which Clark describes as contemporary folk rock with elements of country, pop and blues.

"I think there is a connection somehow between folk art and music," Clark said, noting that other musical groups had incorporated folk art into their album covers.

Though the whole band won't be together for a while, everyone but the Greenes will be at The Whirligig Festival this weekend to sell CDs and take in a little more of Wilson. They aren't a featured musical act, but Clark said they may play an acoustic piece or two from their booth.

"If it looks like we aren't disturbing any other people, we may play a few," Clark said.

jkennedy@wilsondaily.com | (252) 265-7819

Copyright ©, The Wilson Daily Times, Wilson, North Carolina

Jeff Kennedy - Wilson Daily Times (Nov 3, 2005)